The SALHN Governing Board Chair, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Research Strategy are delighted to release SALHN’s Research Direction for 2021–2024.

SALHN is a unique health service, providing complex care, from the beginning to the end of life, to southern Adelaide and rural communities.

In addition to its diverse health service delivery, the Flinders Health Precinct, which combines Flinders Medical Centre (FMC), Flinders Private Hospital and Flinders University, is a thriving hub of research and opportunity.

FMC is a major teaching and research hospital with a culture of innovation that has evolved and endured for close to five decades.

SALHN has undergone consistent change, and the introduction of the SALHN Board is designed to ensure health services are reflective of local community values, needs and priorities whilst strengthening local partnerships.

The Research Direction has been informed by broad conversation and reflection, and external quality frameworks and reviews. These include the Birch Report, SA Productivity Commission Report – Inquiry into Health and Medical Research in South Australia, and The National Clinical Trials Governance Framework - Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

The purpose of our Research Direction is to:

  • strengthen research culture and enquiry
  • improve capability both within SALHN and through partnerships.

A key piece of our strategy is the Four Fields of Enquiry, which encapsulates both our research and improvement culture, while capturing opportunities for further development.

SALHN Research Direction

The Four Fields of Enquiry (FFOE) will drive a culture of questioning and capability building in research and continuous improvement at SALHN.

SALHN Network Strategy Report 2022-23 (PDF 647KB)

Discovery Science

hospital staff in mask undertaking researchGoal: To allow improved understanding of the scientific basis of disease and approaches to therapy.

Description: Discovery science makes strong contributions to the research culture and sense of enquiry that underpin associations of research with improved health care performance. It uses an incremental approach where observations and hypotheses are tested with the aim of improved biomedical understanding as the basis to improved health care.

Clinical Trials

image of staff doing clinical trials in hospitalGoal: To develop evidence-based treatments.

Description: Encompasses a series of clinical trial designs in which standard care is compared with an alternative treatment. This is an essential step in building evidence-based care. The outcomes for the standard care group are usually superior to non-trial outcomes, with safety of the intervention based on prior research and data safety monitoring process.

Health Services Research

staff sitting around a table in masksGoal: To use clinical and demographic data to improve delivery and safety of health care, and to reduce inequities.

Description: Uses a predominantly observational approach with clinical and demographic data to analyse large cohorts during routine care. This facilitates understanding and exploration of hypotheses in action that can then assist delivery of improved and safer care and the identification of situations where care delivery is uneven.

Continuous Improvement / Implementation Science

See: Continuous Improvement / Implementation Science

image of staff in masks at desksGoal: Achieve optimal delivery of health care.

Description: Involves the implementation of a structured approach and the expertise of frontline people to identify areas for optimisation, intervention and implementation. This includes the delivery of evidence-based healthcare interventions often derived from research and enquiry.

This will result in:

  • more effective and efficient care for our patients
  • improved teamwork, and staff wellbeing through better engagement with our colleagues, teams and the wider organisation
  • strengthened connections with our key partners

Every person in SALHN knows where they are and where they want to be in the Four Fields of Enquiry, strengthening research culture and improving care.

We will:

  • work together with the Divisions to identify strengths and opportunities within the Four Fields of Enquiry
  • benchmark our current capability and capacity across the Four Fields of Enquiry
  • support all staff to improve, to question, to innovate across the Four Fields of Enquiry